Volunteer fees to be scrapped after election

VOLUNTEER SCREENING FEE: Ceduna Uniting Church Op Shop volunteers Sarah Nicol and Heather Workman, who said scraping the fee would be welcome for volunteers. Picture: Luca Cetta
VOLUNTEER SCREENING FEE: Ceduna Uniting Church Op Shop volunteers Sarah Nicol and Heather Workman, who said scraping the fee would be welcome for volunteers. Picture: Luca Cetta

Volunteer screening may no longer cost individuals or organisations following recent announcements from the Liberal and Labor parties ahead of the state election this weekend.

A Department of Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) screening, which determines a person’s eligibility to work with groups such as children or old people, costs volunteers $58.30.

Without the screening volunteers are not able to give their time to organisations such as schools or sporting clubs.

The Labor plan would include free screenings for people over 60 and Minister for Volunteers Zoe Bettison said it would encourage more people to get involved.

“Volunteering is a great way for older South Australians to remain active and engaged in their community, and by providing free screening clearances it will be even easier them to get involved,” she said.

“Some organisations pay for screening clearances themselves, so this initiative will put more money back into clubs, community groups and organisations that support our community.”

Member for Flinders Peter Treloar said volunteers were the backbone of Eyre Peninsula and the Liberals’ plan to abolish DCSI screening fees for volunteers would be recognition of their community service.

“The cost of volunteer screening and extensive waiting times are issues that are continually raised with me, with South Australia having the highest DCSI volunteer screening fee in Australia at $58.30.”

Ceduna Uniting Church Op Shop volunteer Heather Workman has been a long-time volunteer for the op shop and church and praised the move to scrap the fee.

“Volunteers sign up for an organisation in good faith and so it is a good idea to help them out,” she said.

“This will help organisations and individuals by saving money and frustration.

“It is frustrating, especially for those of an older age to have to produce documents and fill out these forms to participate.”

She said the op shop had 19 regular volunteers and more on call, so costs added up and scrapping the fee would be a boost.

The Greens and Australian Conservatives parties also said they supported the elimination of the screening fee.